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Versalite, Unique, and Buckshot

This is a discussion on Versalite, Unique, and Buckshot within the Shotgun Reloading forums, part of the Shotgun Forum Discussions category; I would like to draw on the wisdom of some of you more experienced reloaders. When my Dad passed away I inherited several things including ...



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Old 12-20-2020, 02:12 PM   #1
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Versalite, Unique, and Buckshot

I would like to draw on the wisdom of some of you more experienced reloaders. When my Dad passed away I inherited several things including some empty 12 ga Federal Paper hulls, a small bag of #2 buckshot, and several hundred Pacific Versawad wads, as well as his old CH press. I decided to load up some buckshot rounds with these components but with the current shortage of powder I had to use Alliant Unique that I have on hand (I know many of you would recommend more suitable powders, but this is what I have), and CCI 209 primers.

I ran several searches on the internet and found that data for Pacific Versawad (Hornady Versawad, DRV-12, Verawad) is not plentiful, and almost all loads reference 1 1/8 or 1 1/4 ounce loads of shot for birds or trap. My Dad used them to load 1 1/8 oz of #7 shot for doves and trap.

These Versawads hold 16 pellets of #2 buck perfectly and the Federal paper hulls I loaded look like they were crimped by the factory.

The problem Id like some input on is this: The 16-pellet load weighs in at 1.03 oz. The load data I found for Unique is for a 1 1/8 oz load. One of the manuals I found identified 22.0 grs as a minimum charge, and 23.0 as a maximum charge. After a lot of reading and searching, I settled on 22.3 grains of Unique and loaded a few rounds. Before I go to the range Id like to know if this sets off any alarms with any of you? In other words, with the lighter load of shot is 22.3 grs too much or too little powder?

I have been reloading rifle and pistol ammo for about 40 years, but the only time I loaded shotgun shells was nearly 40 years ago, my Dad set everything up and kept an eye on me (I was about 10), and all I had to do was work the press. I know loading for shotguns is not the same as metallic cartridges, and want to play it safe. Thank you in advance for any info you can provide.
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Old 12-20-2020, 03:08 PM   #2
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I've been reloading metallic since 1955 and shotgun, 12 Gauge, 20 Gauge and .410 Bore since 1969.

Your load will be very safe and will have ballistics close to what the recipe you're using calls for. Velocity will be up slightly but not much and pressure will be down slightly.

Use with confidence as long as the load came from a trusted source.
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Old 12-20-2020, 05:24 PM   #3
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Thank you for the quick reply Flash! Reassurance from someone with experience means a lot. The data I quoted came from the 2014 Alliant Powder manual, and it tracks with other sources I found online.
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Old 12-21-2020, 02:03 AM   #4
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As Flash noted, you shouldn't have any safety issues with this load...but, the pressures are going to be on the low side with Unique.

If you are using an auto loader, you might have some cycling issues. It will probably be a bit dirty. I was never bothered by dirty loads except in my 1100's.

Good luck and all the best.
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Old 12-21-2020, 09:32 PM   #5
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Thank you jwsmith1959. I appreciate the input.
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:17 AM   #6
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Just a quick follow-up since I made it to the range.

I was able to get a little Green Dot and 700x from a friend and loaded up a couple of rounds with each as well as the Unique I mentioned above. I fired two rounds of each load (22.3 grs Unique, 21.0 Green Dot, and 18.0 700x, Versalite wad, 1oz/16 pellets #2 Buck, CCI primer). Recoil was mild with all 3 but a bit sharper with 700x. When I ejected the case there was a bit of smoke lingering in the U and GD hulls, but not the 700x, and when you look into the empty hulls the 700x was much cleaner.

I was shooting from a Mossberg 500 pump. Sorry jwsmith1959, I should have mentioned that in my reply.

Unfortunately, I did not get to shoot across my chronograph as we were short of time. Next time I hope to use it, and will decide what to load any future rounds with. If powder were not in such short supply, I'd lean toward 700x unless the chronograph indicates that load is just too hot.

Thank you again for your replies. I appreciate your input very much.
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Old 01-11-2021, 02:18 AM   #7
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Hodgdon does not show any load data for 700X in the Fed. Papers, but both my Lyman and Gun Digest manual show that load to be within load limits. Chronographing would be helpful, but if you really want to know what you have you can send some 5 shot samples to Precision Reloading. Prices are reasonable if you are sending multiple loads to test.

Good luck and all the best.

https://www.precisionreloading.com/v...?pg=shot_proof
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Old 01-11-2021, 01:09 PM   #8
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Thanks for the tip jwsmith1959! I think I will try the chronograph and as long as I'm between 1100 and 1200 fps I should be ok -- what do you think? The Dram Equivalent chart I am looking at shows a 1oz charge at 1125 fps as 2 1/2 dram eq. and 1235 fps as 3 dram eq. These rounds (if they are ever used) would be for home defense, or maybe hunting hogs. This project started because I couldn't stand to see a bag of primed hulls, a bag of wads, and a bag of buckshot sitting on three separate shelves.
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